Southern Pacific Railroad's Tunnel 13 in the Siskiyou Mountains on the border of Oregon and California has seen countless trains pass through its portals since its construction in the 1880's. The remarkable Redwood timbers used to shore up the tunnel, harvested and milled in northern California, stood silent in Tunnel 13 for over 120 years, absorbing the sounds of the trains and the people that passed beneath.
Virgin Redwood harvested in the 1880's is extraordinary. Nothing like it has been available for many years. What little is left standing of this majestic Redwood is, thankfully, protected from logging interests. In 1880, that was not so. The Redwood timbers were finally removed from old Tunnel 13 and sold at salvage in 2004 following a fire in the tunnel that was reportedly set by transients trying to stay warm. Petros Guitars has just now managed to acquire a limited supply of this incredible, master-grade Redwood. Imagine, if you will, beautifully grained guitar tops, masterfully crafted from timbers that have been air-drying for more than 120 years - timbers that stood silent for over a century, absorbing, "listening."
Not only is this rare Redwood perfect for producing beautifully sonorous guitars, not only has it been air-dried for over a century, this fabulous Redwood was there, in Tunnel 13, to bear witness to the sights and sounds of "The Last Great American Train Robbery."
On October 11, 1923, Southern Pacific's Train 13, the Gold Special, pulling 13 cars, stopped at Tunnel 13 to test its brakes before heading down the mountain. There, at Tunnel 13, the train was boarded by the three DeAutremont brothers, 19 year old Hugh and 23 year old twins Roy and Ray. The DeAutremonts planned to rob the train of the $50,000 rumored to be on board. Their carefully laid plans went completely awry when Roy placed too much dynamite to blow open the door to the mail car. The oversized explosive charge demolished the mail car, killing the U.S. mail clerk and destroying most of the contents.
In the ensuing fire, smoke and confusion, their plan completely in shambles, not a cent gained, the DeAutremonts killed the Southern Pacific engineer, brakeman and fireman, then raced off into the mountains on foot. The DeAutremont brothers managed to elude capture for 4 years, despite what was described as one of the largest, worldwide manhunts in U.S. history. The Redwood timbers of Tunnel 13 were there to hear it all.
In 2004, when these incredible timbers were removed from the 3,108 foot tunnel, an enterprising instrument wood sawyer, upon removing more than 120 years of soot, ash and dirt from the surface of these long silent, Redwood beams, revealed the extraordinary character of the wood inside. He immediately recognized the enormous potential of this "diamond in the rough" Redwood. The wood, with its long history of captured sounds, had been saved from destruction.
Petros Guitars was fortunate to acquire a limited quantity of this remarkable, rare wood and is now offering Tunnel 13 guitars hand crafted from this century old Redwood.
The "Tunnel 13 Redwood™" models will be paired with Oregon's Claro Walnut. This combination of top and back wood is naturally spectacular, according to master luthier, Bruce Petros.
Several options are available for the "Tunnel 13 Redwood™" models, but Bruce encourages the Claro Walnut/Redwood combination along with a Butternut neck. This creates one of the lightest, best sounding guitars to ever come off the Petros work bench. Bruce remarks, "This combination of woods alone imparts the sonic signature of a very old instrument. When the wood used really IS very old, like this remarkable Tunnel 13 Redwood™, the effect is amplified tenfold."
The almost magical, guitar alchemy Petros Guitars has become known for has been masterfully applied to set free the spirited voice of this incredible Redwood, a voice silenced for over a century.
Petros Tunnel 13 Redwood™ guitars are a fitting, beautiful tribute to the remarkable Redwood saved from Tunnel 13.
Play a Petros Tunnel 13 Guitar and hear for yourself the voice of the Tunnel 13 Redwood . . . . released at last.
Dimensions: 15 1/2" by 4 1/2" by 43"